Boycotting Airbnb Until They Stop Advertising Falsely

VRBO

I recently experienced a truly unpleasant encounter with Airbnb that has left me and my partner totally guttered and disappointed at the way Airbnb management has handled our complaint. They have given me no other alternative than to take to social media on all platforms to make others aware of a system that puts profits before honesty and integrity.

We booked a stay on Airbnb for two nights and informed the host two days prior that there were two of us staying and the approximate time of arrival. On arrival, the host was unable to meet us but had another person check us in. The room was not as listed and so I insisted that I speak with the host; he said that I could find another place if I wasn’t happy with the room booked but he wouldn’t refund our money.

I took photos (attached) and forwarded them to Airbnb. At the time they gave us a 50% refund which was satisfactory as we were not in a position to argue the difference, let alone try to find another place at the last minute. Airbnb also informed me that the host was in breach of Airbnb policies and would address the matter directly with him.

During our stay, the linen we believe to have been from an “Op Shop” had a musky smell and the Doona for a child’s single bed with teddy bears on it for a listed king-size bed was in fact for a queen-size bed. The listing stated there was a bathroom (not listed as shared nor did Airbnb state that within the house that all the other rooms were rented out as well) and at our time of stay we had to share the bathroom with six people; the house can accommodate up to nine people at any one time with only one bathroom.

The other issue with the listing was that most of the door handles had one screw holding in the handle which could result in the handle falling off into either the bedroom or bathroom, leaving a person locked inside as the host doesn’t live at the house. On my return some three weeks later I checked to see if the listing was still listed as we saw it; to my surprise, it was.

I messaged Airbnb about the situation and instead of addressing my concerns, they removed my comments that I left on the host’s page that provided an honest description of our stay. Second to that, the host at the same time left a message about us, trying to swing the situation around. I decided to ring Airbnb, which went to an offshore call center. I explained my experience with the stay and how I was extremely disappointed with the fact the host was still listing the property exactly the same as when we booked and stayed. I told Airbnb that it appears profit has been put forward over integrity and requested a full refund for my stay, including having the host’s untrue comments erased.

I mentioned all of the above to an Airbnb senior case manager who informed me via message that the case was closed and no further actions will occur. As a loyal customer for the past several years with multiple listings worldwide, I have now decided to boycott Airbnb until they can address my concerns in a professional manner, including making the changes that I believe are truly overdue with falsely advertising listings so that the customer is aware of all the facts prior to committing to a booking. Airbnb gave me no alternative than to take my concerns to social media on all levels. This was conveyed to Airbnb prior to this post with little to no concern as profit appears to be the governing factor at play rather than addressing genuine complaints.

VRBO

Airbnb Hosts Have it All When it Comes to Refunds

VRBO

I’m here to share a little of my bad experience. I’m going on vacation at the end of July, and decided to travel around Croatia from August 8-11. I rented this place on Airbnb; I booked the flight and got everything set. Everything was going okay until a few days later, when I realized that instead of booking the place for the August I mistakenly booked it for July.

I messaged my host as soon as I could telling him about the mistake around July 2nd. He replied that unfortunately he didn’t have any other place available for August so I should cancel my booking as soon as I can to get as much back as I could. He said he would try to contact Airbnb to see how he could refund me, since all the process is automated.

Since I booked the place one month earlier the refund policy was not applicable anymore and I got no refund, even though I canceled my booking. It turns out that I could never get my money back. I tried to contact Airbnb and they told me that unless my host wanted to, there’s nothing they could do. I asked if they don’t think that what he did was wrong and all they said was that they could not punish him because he never violated the rules.

I know that the policy states that cancellations made within a week before the booking date will not be refunded, but I think hosts take advantage of this misfortune to trick guests into cancelling bookings just so they can rent the place again. This kind of behavior is just unacceptable.

VRBO

Issue with Getting Refunds from Airbnb Japan

VRBO

I am looking for advice. In January I booked three Airbnbs in Japan. Recently a new bill was issued by the government and a lot of Airbnbs got cancelled, including the three I booked. In this particular case I got a full refund from Airbnb and on top of that 100% of the refund in coupons. This was like a 200% refund which was awesome.

Here comes the problem. In March I changed my bank; I moved from TSB to RBS. Everything went smoothly and without any issues until the refunds were processed. Airbnb stated over the phone that their policy is to only refund the card that was used for the purchase and they can’t change that.

A month later (now) I still do not have any refund. I asked RBS; they say no transactions have happened according to the switch contract so they don’t know anything. I asked Airbnb who said the refund has been processed and there is no bounce back from the bank. They gave me a trace number to track the payment. I asked TSB, who said that they can’t see that transaction and they have no idea what a tracing number is. I asked Visa (the issuer of my card) and they said they cannot help me with this and I should contact TSB.

I have a bunch of tickets raised at Airbnb. I have a bunch of tickets raised at TSB. I have an investigation ongoing by the account SwitchService. I have an investigation ongoing by RBS. I am at a loss and have no idea how to proceed. If you have any ideas or suggestions please help.

VRBO

Barcelona High Rise Not Accessible to Handicapped

I booked a room in Barcelona through Airbnb in February, but by the time I traveled in late May, I had developed back and leg problems (sciatica). A couple days before arriving, it occurred to me that I didn’t know whether I would need to climb steps or if there was an elevator.

I contacted the host, who was willing to be helpful, but he was on the third floor without an elevator. I was able to see the building from the outside and could determine I would not be able to climb the stairs, or if I got up there, I would not get back down. The host declined to refund me because I cancelled too late (which I get), and he was generous in offering the same reservation for a future time (I will not get to go back to Barcelona to claim the offer).

At the time of booking, my fee went from the posted $47.00 per night to $125.00 because there was a big music festival in town that weekend. I hoped he would be able to book guests in, but he chose not to open up to a new Airbnb booking. My total fee was $420.00. So far I have received a refund of $18.96.

I contacted Airbnb to request a full refund. I had a case worker who asked for a doctor’s letter by June 14th. On June 10th (I had not yet received the doctor’s letter) I got this email message:

“Thank you for providing me the details. Please feel free to contact us when you have the letter from the doctor and we’ll be happy to analyse it in order to help you. You don’t have a time frame to provide this documentation. However, I’m forced to close this consult for the time being. It will re-open once you provide the doctor’s letter. Keep in mind that the letter is the only way we can help you. Please contact us when you need to. We’ll be glad to help you.”

The next day I sent the doctor’s letter. My case worker had disappeared. All I got were automatic responses saying they received my request. I have complied. Since I have a medical reason for the cancellation, I expect Airbnb to honor my refund request or least to acknowledge and act on it now that the documentation is in place. I have used Airbnb other places and had good experiences. Of course, it just takes one bad meal to keep me out of a restaurant.

Refund of $7.55 for $450+ Airbnb Booking

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Planning trips are my absolute favourite and I have loved using Airbnb to do it. At the beginning of May, I started planning a trip to Seattle for a weekend. I decided that I wanted to stay downtown even though it was pricey. I found a cute apartment and booked it.

A few days later reality kicked in and I realized that spending $450 a night wasn’t worth it, so I started looking for a cheaper alternative. Five days after my original booking I cancelled the reservation. However, this booking has a “strict (grace period)” cancellation policy, which apparently means you can only get a full refund if cancelled in 48 hours. On Airbnb’s website it says if the booking is cancelled within 48 hours or 14 days prior to check in you are eligible for a full refund.

A month went by. I checked my visa statement and realized that Airbnb hadn’t refunded me. I contacted them asking why I have only received $7.55 back instead of the full $459 paid. They said, “you only paid half of the full fee so you don’t get any money back because you are only eligible for 50% of the full amount”. This policy would make sense if the host couldn’t rebook the space in time, but she’s already got it rebooked.

Why am I spending $450 when she’s got new guests in the space? She has rejected my request for a partial refund of $309 and a full refund of $459 because “that’s her cancellation policy”. Airbnb has been a nightmare trying to get a hold of to request a refund and I am lost as to what to do. This was a splurge in my budget already and now I’ve wasted $459.

Booking Cancelled by Host and Refund is only 40%

This was the first time I used Airbnb. Two days after having a confirmed booking, my host informed me that her house rules did not allow single men. This was actually stated on her page but only if you clicked to expand the rules list. The first line dealt with “no smoking”, etc. As it was the first time I used the site, I didn’t think to check carefully through this as I assumed it dealt with “do”s and “don’t”s at the property. The booking was accepted, payment taken and two days later the host informed me of her rule.

I went to cancel the booking and despite the fact that the host rejected my booking and I selected that option, Airbnb informed me that I would only receive £45.00 GBP back on a booking of £105.00. Either Airbnb or the host keeps the balance. Interesting that the host – who I emailed at the time of booking – had waited two days to respond, which brought me just within fourteen days of the booking date. According Airbnb terms, a cancellation within 14 days returns only 50% of the booking fee and 0% of the administrative fees.

Hosts are free to cancel on you and it would seem, keep half the booking fee. Presumably they are then free to resell your room. I have searched to find a way to contact Airbnb and they are clearly another internet giant hiding behind anonymity: no obvious numbers, no contact forms and just not interested in anything but your money.

Account Cancelled After Guest Makes False Claims

I have been an Airbnb Host for about five years. My reviews were mostly five stars. Even when they were less they were always good to outstanding reviews. I made Superhost twice. About two months ago I was warned that my listing was not conforming to discrimination rules. I was not permitted to limit single women to a maximum of three nights (or lose my girlfriend). I was not permitted to limit people who were heavily medicated or using drugs. I was not permitted to state that my place was not a good fit for handicapped people. I fixed all that and then they reactivated my listing. I was also warned that if I had one more violation that I would be barred from using Airbnb and never be able to reactivate or list again. I booked several guest and had five-star reviews from all in the next two months.

Then I booked three guests, two of which I had booked at an earlier date for three or four nights and had given them a very good review, stating they were trustworthy and clean. The three guests were booked for four nights. They did smoke (often in their car). They tried to hook up the living room TV with the HDMI for a PlayStation. Before I went out for the evening I noted that they left the TV on with unknown source. I turned it off for them and went out for the evening. The next morning the TV was in internet mode. The guest had tried to pull the TV off the wall which is not possible because of the custom mounting. The cables for the sound bar and TV were in wrong places. Of course the TV and sound bar would not work. I could not find the controllers and so pulled the power plug to turn it off until I could get help to remove the TV, check it out, and cable it properly and then do the required setups. After two hours it was working fine.

The guests violated house rules by not closing their window and turning off their intake fan in the daytime. They could have been violating the no-smoking house rule. On the third day I was out and about most of the day and returned to find the house unlocked. A short while later, the guest returned and parked in my neighbor’s parking space. I called them to move the car. I was then confronted with one of the guests. He said that my place was full of rodents and insects. I said that was impossible unless they brought them.

He then screamed racial slurs at me. I asked them to leave and he stated that they were on the way out. I called the police who arrived shortly after they left. The officer and I checked the room for rodents. There was something on the sink and a few leaves and sticky spots on the floor. Nothing had been stolen. I noticed that a computer desk caster was broken and called the next day to make a claim.

Airbnb told me that the guest had submitted images of rodents and insects everywhere. I wanted to see the pictures since I said they had to be planted by the guests. I lived here since 2004 and my sister was here ten years before that. There was never a single mouse. Insects were not welcome and well under control. I noted that several extra washcloths were used. Probably to catch all the mice and remove them from the house. They were all gone.

I purchased glue traps and other traps to make sure since I had a guest coming in two days. That guest was an Airbnb host. I told her about the three guests and the rodent pictures. She had never placed a claim with Airbnb. I tried to place a claim and had pictures taken of the broken desk; they kept up a non-response procedure.

They refunded one day’s stay to the guest. I questioned that and then the fee was restored since the first Airbnb person had not consulted with me. A second Airbnb person had overruled the first since they had not followed Airbnb procedures. Then the broken desk claim still needed to be processed. That became impossible, since about five days after the guest left, my account was cancelled.

I was able to book one guest on another site. He emailed me to say his stay had been cancelled. I had not recorded the contact information of the other guests – my mistake. At one time in the past Airbnb had cancelled one of my guest for some issue. When he showed up, he wanted his money back and called his friend for help. The friend burst out laughing.

However, if I had not been home, that guest who had the keypad code could have been in my house. Then what? My general feeling with Airbnb over the years is that they tend to keep changing their rules. Sometimes, I feel that they tend to be very nasty. I have listed my place on VBRO and had my first booking within five days. It seems like most of the places are higher priced. Not so with Airbnb.

Generally, hosts should not expect too much from Airbnb if you ever have to file a claim. Airbnb prevents you from writing a bad review for a guest when your account is cancelled. The fraudulent guest at my place had three okay reviews and one was from me. Any guest can do the same fraud or similar schemes. They do it against many companies. It’s a lot to consider if you host. I think the best thing is to raise your prices high enough for any strangers that you are willing to host. Don’t expect Airbnb, who got too big too fast, to really care about losing you as a host.

Pointless Bookings with no Immediate Refunds

This was our first and last booking with Airbnb. Having booked an apartment in Spain for two weeks, the booking was accepted and we paid the total amount. I was then informed by the “host” that she was now talking to another party who was interested in the same dates plus additional days. She cancelled my booking and I was informed by Airbnb that would I be refunded within five working days. This is not good enough and totally lacks any aspect of professionalism. Once a host accepts a booking, it should a commitment, a contract. Otherwise they should be banned from any further dealings with Airbnb. Secondly, the refund into one’s account should be immediate. Not everyone can afford to wait for the refund whilst financing an alternative accommodation.

Guest Ripped off by Host’s False Promise to Refund

I booked accommodation advertised on AirBnb on October 19th, 2017 for our nieces and nephews attending our daughter’s wedding from February 18th to 21st, 2018. It wasn’t possible to see the exact location as Airbnb only provides a circle in which the property lie, no address.

The property was very nice and within a few minutes of our house. The full amount needed to be paid immediately and the host required a 50% non-refundable deposit. After the full payment had been taken off our credit card by Airbnb, we received the address, and realized that there were safety concerns. The property was on the other side of the railway line from us and our guests would need to use a subway to get to our house. We contacted the host immediately explaining our concerns and asking if she would consider waiving the 50% deposit. As it was immediate, she agreed in writing and we cancelled with Airbnb. Airbnb’s portion was refunded quite soon, but they said the host had to give permission for them to release her portion.

Sufficed to say, over 20 emails to the host and seven months later, we have not managed to get a penny from her. I am handing this matter over to a debt collecting firm, as I have it in writing that she agreed to pay. She has had a long term rental on the property, our dates falling in that period. Unfortunatey, this will be an expensive business, as one is only given a client custom email address by Airbnb. So there will be tracing fees involved. Feeling ripped off and sad. Make sure you have someone who is conversant with the pitfalls of Airbnb when you book.

Unprocessed Refund from Cancelling Airbnb Host

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Around February, I booked a house for March 14th. On the day, I was informed by the host that the house was not available due to the radiator breaking down, which would need a few days to fix. So, I asked for a full refund because the house was the only one at which I really wanted to stay and other listed houses that the owner recommended as substitutes were not really fancy or worth the price that I paid for. I was not aware that the host has to process the cancellation if a guest wants to get a refund, which he did not process at all. After several weeks, I messaged him to check if he sent me the money back and he said: “Has it not been processed? Can you send me your bank details?”

After roughly one month from receiving this reply, I asked him again and then he said “Can you double check again?”

This was the last reply that I received. Since then, Intentionally or unintentionally, he is not answering my messages or phone calls. Is there any way that I can get a full refund with the proof that I have?